Research

Faculty affiliates at the Center for Digital Games Research have produced a wide range of projects and research findings related to digital media and games.

AirQuest

Alenda Chang, Ph.D., Department of Film and Media Studies

AirQuest (https://socialapplab.wordpress.com/airquest/) is a civic-action game designed to motivate young people ages 12-24 to learn more about air-quality issues in their local communities and about triggers and risk factors for asthma. Unlike most games, AirQuest represents a specific geographic and sociocultural reality, highlighting the irony that although California's Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the nation, it faces high unemployment and poverty levels and severe air-quality problems arising from the valley’s unique topography and weather. In addition to its regional specificity, AirQuest’s primary innovation lies in making scientific models and data—from regional wind patterns to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sensor readings—accessible and playable to non-specialists.

Credibility Assessment and Intelligence Analysis Training in a Serious Game

Norah Dunbar, Ph.D., Department of Communication

Two games were designed to mitigate cognitive bias: MACBETH (Mitigating Analyst Cognitive Bias by Eliminating Task Heuristics). The games garnered two awards at the 2013 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C) at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC): Best Game Overall (Business Category) and the Adaptive Force Award (selected by the Office of the Secretary of Defense). Funded by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), 2011-2013.
http://www.seriousgamesnews.com/serious-games/serious-game-aims-to-reduc...
http://k20center.ou.edu/programs/dgbl/news-updates/macbeth-wins-two-awards/
http://www.seriousgamesmarket.com/2013/12/macbeth-serious-games-to-train...

Decision-Making in Abstract Trust Games in a Computer-Mediated Multi-Agent Setting

Tobias Hollerer, Ph.D., Department of Computer Science

Onal, E., Schaffer, J., O’Donovan, J., Marusich, L.R., Yu, M.S., Gonzalez, C., and Höllerer, T. (2014). Decision-making in Abstract Trust Games: A User Interface Perspective. IEEE International Inter-Disciplinary Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support (CogSIMA), March 3-6, 2014, San Antonio, TX, USA.
http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~holl/pubs/Onal-2014-CogSIMA.pdf

DynaMath

Michael Gerber, Ph.D., School of Education

DynaMath is a computer-based dynamic assessment system that provides individually tailored, instructionally useful assessment of students with disabilities. The program organizes and reports student performance data, graphically displays the "zone of proximal development," and provides a qualitative record of student performance. Funded by the Office of Special Education Projects, US Department of Education, 1991-1994.
http://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-15824003/computer-based-dynam...

Experimental Games in Digital Virtual Environments

Jim Blascovich, Ph.D., Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

This program of research examines effects of player facial expressions on economic games within immersive and non-immersive digital virtual environments.

Blascovich, J., Loomis, J., Beall, A. C., Swinth, K. R., Hoyt, C. L., & Bailenson, J. N. (2001). Immersive virtual environment technology as a methodological tool for social psychology. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 146-149.

Game-Based Learning

Richard Mayer, Ph.D., Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

DeLeeuw, K. & Mayer, R. E. (2011). Cognitive consequences of making computer-based learning activities more game-like. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 2011-2016.

Fiorella, L., & Mayer, R. E. (2012). Paper-based aids for learning with a computer-based game. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 1074-1082.

Johnson, C. I., & Mayer, R. E. (2010). Adding the self-explanation principle to multimedia learning in a computer-based game-like environment. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 1246-1252.

Mayer, R. E. (2011). Mulimedia learning and games. In S. Tobias & J. D. Fletcher (Eds.), Computer games and instruction (pp. 282-306). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Mayer, R. E., & Johnson, C. I. (2010). Adding instructional features that promote learning in a game-like environment. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 42, 241-265.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2004). Personalized messages that promote science learning in virtual environments. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96,165-173.

Health Games Database

Erica Biely, M.A., Center for Digital Games Research
Debra Lieberman, Ph.D., Center for Digital Games Research

The online searchable Health Games Database lists hundreds of health games and related publications, resources, organizations, and events. Users can search by keyword, category, or topic; flag items; save and update favorite searches; and recommend new items to include. The database was previously located on the web site of the Health Games Research national program and is now located on the web site of the Center for Digital Games Research at UC Santa Barbara. Funded by the Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2007-2015.
http://www.cdgr.ucsb.edu/database

Health Games Research: Advancing Effectiveness of Interactive Games for Health

Debra Lieberman, Ph.D., Center for Digital Games Research
Erica Biely, M.A., Center for Digital Games Research

Headquartered at UC Santa Barbara, Health Games Research was a national program that focused on the research and design of digital games for health behavior change. Its constituents included researchers, health care providers, game designers and producers, funders and investors, policy-makers, and the general public. The program provided leadership to help build the emerging health games field and it funded 21 research projects in the U.S. that investigated processes and effects of health games that were designed to improved players’ engagement, motivation, learning, and health behaviors related to healthy lifestyle habits, prevention behaviors, self-care, and disease self-management. The research projects studied games that appeared on various technology platforms from mobile phones to consoles to dance pads to cybercycles to robots; focused on a range of health issues from obesity to nutrition to physical activity to tobacco addiction to alcoholism to cystic fibrosis to autism to physical therapy to cognitive therapy (neurotherapeutics), among many other issues; and addressed the needs of diverse populations by age and income and health status. Findings from these studies advanced the field, demonstrated in many ways that research can improve the design and effectiveness of health games, gave decision-makers the confidence that well designed health games can be effective in improving health-related learning and behavior change, and provided evidence-based principles of health game design to apply to the design of future health games. In addition to providing technical assistance to the 21 grantees and disseminating their findings, senior staff of Health Games Research conducted and published research, developed resources for the field such as the Health Games Database and nationwide surveys, and gave numerous invited talks at national conferences and meetings in the fields of media and games, health care, and academic research. Funded by the Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2007-2013.
http://www.healthgamesresearch.org

Human Interaction in an Enhanced Gaming Experience

Tobias Höllerer, Ph.D., Department of Computer Science

Olwal, S. DiVerdi, I. Rakkolainen, and T. Höllerer (2008). Consigalo: Multi-user, Face-to-face Interaction on an Immaterial Display. Proc. INTETAIN 2008 (2nd International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment), Jan 8-10, 2008, Cancun, Mexico.
http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~holl/pubs/Olwal-2008-Intetain.pdf

Infinite Reality

Jim Blascovich, Ph.D., Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

This book by renowned researchers Jim Blascovich (UC Santa Barbara) and Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford University) explores how digital immersive virtual reality has become an extension of humanity and how it will soon be integrated into our lives. To support their predictions, the authors provide extensive research evidence and examples of virtual reality applications that have had considerable influence on users’ attitudes, self-concepts, learning, and behavior.

Blascovich, J. & Bailenson, J. (2011). Infinite reality: Avatars, eternal life, new worlds, and the dawn of the virtual revolution. New York: HarperCollins.
http://www.infinitereality.org/

Kodu

Chandra Krintz, Ph.D., Department of Computer Science

Kodu is a visual programming language that children and adults can use to create games. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. Computer Science Professor Chandra Krintz worked on Kodu with Microsoft Research. She used Kodu as a way to introduce game development, logical thinking, and computer science to girls ages 10-14 who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/

Microcomputer Administered Spelling Tests: Effects on Learning Handicapped and Normally Achieving Students

Michael Gerber, Ph.D., School of Education

Effect of Microcomputer-Administered Spelling Assessment on LH Students' Performance and Teachers' Management of Instruction. Funded by the Office of Special Education Projects, US Department of Education, 1983-84. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0748763850010210?journalCode=...

Narrative Games for Learning

Richard Mayer, Ph.D., Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Adams, D, M., Mayer, R. E., McNamara, A., Koening, A., & Wainess, R. (2012). Narrative games for learning: Testing the discovery and narrative hypothesis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 235-249.

Pedagogical Agents in Games for Learning

Richard Mayer, Ph.D., Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Mayer, R. E., & DaPra, S. (2012). An embodiment effect in computer-based learning with animated pedagogical agents. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 18, 239-252.

Mayer, R. E., Dow, G. T., & Mayer, S. A. (2003). Multimedia learning in an interactive self-explaining environment: What works in the design of agent-based microworlds? Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 806-812.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E (2005). Role of guidance, reflection, and interactivity in an agent-based multimedia game. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 117-128.

Wang, N., Johnson, W. L., Mayer, R. E., Rizzo, P., Shaw, E., & Collins, H. (2008). The politeness effect: Pedagogical agents and learning outcomes. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 66, 96-112.

Re-Mission: Two Studies of a Cancer Education Video Game

Debra Lieberman, Ph.D., Center for Digital Games Research

Effects of a Cancer Education Video Game on the Cancer-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Prevention Behaviors of Healthy Young Adults. Research funded by HopeLab, 2005-2006.

Narrative and Nurturing in a Health Video Game: A Comparative Study of Video Game Features. Research funded by HopeLab, 2007.

SchoolLink

Michael Gerber, Ph.D., School of Education

SchoolLink creates web-based, interactive multimedia professional development modules that support team-oriented professional development in schools. Funded by the Verizon Foundation , 2000-2002, and by the Office of Special Education Projects, US Department of Education, 1997-2000.
http://www.editlib.org/p/14102/
http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=588

Technology Effectiveness Research

Michael Gerber, Ph.D., School of Education

Twenty-Five Years After Dunn's Article:

A Legacy of Policy Analysis Research in Special Education
http://sed.sagepub.com/content/27/4/481.short

Are Effective Schools Reforms Effective for All Students? The Implications of Joint Outcome Production for School Reform
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327035ex0702_1#.VDoMJBanFro

Funded by the Office of Special Education Projects, US Department of Education, 1983-1987.

Virtual Environments Technology

Michael Gerber, Ph.D., School of Education

Application of Virtual Environments Technology for Cognitive, Physical, and Social Rehabilitation Research Across Disciplines. 2002-2003

Partners

  • HopeLab
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • SAGE Publishing
  • UNICEF Kid Power